Global Talent Visa - | Hudson McKenzie

Global Talent Visa

January 29, 2020 | Immigration, Latest Thinking, News

Boris Johnson has just announced that a new Global Talent visa will be launched on 20 February 2020, aiming to attract individuals who work in a ‘qualifying field’ and have been endorsed by a recognised UK body. This is a new innovation to the current Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route.

The fundamental foundations of this scheme are evinced from the UK government’s objectives: to attract global talent to the UK, support such eligible individuals in conducting ground-breaking research in the science and research sector and finally, make this a reality. This will be an offer for “the brightest minds”, who specialise and have skills in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Eligible individuals will secure a three-year Global Talent Visa and can subsequently apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. During this time, they have discretion to come and go to and from the UK and also be able to bring dependants. This is the ultimate opportunity for scientists and similar related professions to have fast-track entry into the UK post-Brexit.

Such visa will be ‘self-sponsored’ rather than company or employer sponsored.  This is particularly good news for EU researchers who account for about half of the total UK scientific workforce. At present, they do not need a visa to work in the UK, however freedom of movement between the UK and EU is expected to end after the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.

Fortunately, the UK Government has decided that it won’t create a cap on the number of people who can use the new Global Talent visa. Another welcome news is that the new visa system will be managed by the UK Research and Innovation Agency (UKRI) with the support of other research organisations, rather than being managed by civil servants who may not have a proper understanding and knowledge of such specialist areas. Such a measure is aimed at ensuring that suitable applicants are quickly assessed and fast-tracked.

Although, the announcement is a delight for research organizations who had been lobbying the government very hard for a fast-track visa system for leading researchers to mitigate what they feared would be a brain drain after Brexit, and serves their purpose very well, albeit in isolation. No doubt, Boris Johnson has emphasized that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world and wants to make the UK a “supercharged magnet to attract scientists like iron filings”, however, in our opinion, it only accounts for a handful of individuals each year as not everyone has a brain of a scientist or a mathematician and can get through the rigorous vetting process by the UKRI.

The Global Talent Visa mirrors Innovator and Start-up visas which have been introduced recently without giving much thought, such visas have a rigorous vetting process too. The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa which was hugely successful, was scrapped at very short notice. The UK needs a wide variety of people to retain its power in the global economy, not just mathematicians, scientists and ‘exceptionally talented’ innovators. Not everyone is going to be an ‘Einstein’ or start Facebook, rather there are other ‘average’ people who can very well contribute to the success of UK economy. The UK Government, of late, has been inclined to forget this, perhaps ignore it.

The UK economy, and science in particular, relies on thousands of researchers, and this announcement means nothing for the vast majority of them. The UK Government will need to bring about other positive immigration measures in a very short span of time to attract talent to the UK both from the EU and rest of the world.

For further information or to discuss your eligibility criteria please contact our UK Immigration Lawyers on 020 3318 5794 or via email at